By Elaine Happ, OD
Match each patient’s eyewear recommendation to their individual needs. Then use new measuring technology to provide a higher level of visual performance.
At our practice, we pride ourselves on providing personalized care for each patient. So, when the opportunity arose about three years ago to offer personalized lenses to patients, in which digital measurements are taken to develop custom lenses, we took advantage of it. About 45 percent of the lenses we now sell are personalized to match lifestyle or unique vision needs. Our margins on regular eye wear and personalized eye wear appear to be about the same, but of the patients who order personalized eye wear, 60 percent order another pair, whether it be a computer pair or sunwear, for example. We have more multiple sales now than we did before we had the new technology. So it really has improved our bottom line.
Educated Patients Accept Higher Cost
We have found that most patients are impressed with the personalized systems we have, and often more understanding of the higher cost of the personalized eyewear following such presentations. I let the patient know that the new technology is more expensive, but that our opticians will talk to them more about costs. They relax a little when we explain typical price ranges, so they know what to expect.
Along with the education you and your opticians provide to the patient, the more technology savvy patient is more apt to go with a personalized lens (and higher cost) than someone who doesn’t even understand what high definition television is. How many of your patients have HD TVs at home? Is there any reason these patients shouldn’t expect an HD view of the world through their eyewear, too?
Presbyopes Who Want Custom Lifestyle Care
Most of my patients who choose lifestyle-personalized lenses are presbyopes. As all optometrists know, we have our “special” patients. They want eyeglasses for when they paint using the easel when they are in the back yard. One patient wants a lens for use with his jeweler’s loop when he is sitting at his desk with the side light on. My mom wants sewing eyeglasses, which are different from her quilting eyeglasses because she quilts closer to her face than when she is on the sewing machine. Then there are the plumbers and electricians, and in our town, the power plant workers who are enjoying the new anti-fog technology that is out.
The new, multiple personalized lenses that accommodate all these varying lifestyle needs are going to define the level of quality our patients expect.
Accommodate Work Lifestyle
We sell a lot of computer lenses and it’s something I mention in the exam room to the patient. I wear them myself so we talk about how much better it is for your neck and back to not have to lean in and look up to see the screen. Personalized technology from many of the major lens vendors allow us to provide vision that is custom in accommodating the unique way each of us looks at computer screens. In addition to pointing out the ergonomic benefits, you can also make a case for personalized computer eyewear by pointing out how much more productive the patient will be at work with custom vision correction. If you do a lifestyle questionnaire, you often can identify right away patients who are good candidates for personalized computer eyewear. For example, you might have a patient who lists editing or digital graphic artwork as their profession, or even an executive assistant. It is a good bet that nearly any patient with a desk job and a need for vision correction could benefit from custom computer eyeglasses.
Take Time to Explain Personalized System to Patient
Whichever personalized lens system you implement, there will be instrumentation in your office to take the needed digital measurements. Keep in mind that this is an opportunity to educate the patient about the value of the technology. For example, if you and your optical staff have interested a patient in learning more about personalized computer eyewear, giving them a presentation about the instrumentation can seal the deal. You could point out which measurements will be taken and how those measurements will improve their ability to work (and play) better electronically.
Doctor Shows Patient a Map of their Vision
What I like about personalized lens digital measurements is it maps out all the aberrations in the visual system. I can show each patient their map in the exam room. Our technicians do a great job in starting to explain the technology, and I finish it. I really believe it’s the doctor’s job to educate the patient about their options in new lens technology. I let all my patients know about personalized lenses. Not everyone goes with them, but I feel like I am not doing my job unless I tell the patient about them.
Personalized View of the Fairway
With many presbyopic patients demanding “HD” vision that is personalized to their unique lifestyle needs, lens companies are offering lenses tailored to specific activities. One such lens is Shamir Golf. Some FAQs:
• Sharp viewing in all three crucial focal areas–the far distant green, the ball at the player’s feet and the score card in his hand.
• Enhanced peripheral vision.
• Utilizes Shamir’s As-Worn Technology that personalizes the vision to exactly how a patient wears their eyeglasses including even the way they turn their head and move their eyes.
• Minimum fitting height: 19
• Provides the golfer with a more comfortable golfing experience than the conventional progressive lenses.
• Sharp focus without distortion in the three crucial focal areas.
• Clear peripheral viewing
• Designed to suit wraparound frames
• Available as progressive and single-vision lenses.
• Extra-protection safety materials
• UV and blue light protection
• Colors specially suited to golf
• Single-vision and progressive wearers, seeking a solution to maximize their performances in the golf game.
To download an information sheet on Shamir Golf, click HERE. –ROB Editors
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Elaine Happ, OD, is the owner of Uptown Eye Care in Monticello, Minn. To contact her: Laniperry2010@hotmail.com.